The red squirrel, the original 'Squirrel Nutkin' of Beatrix Potter fame, is one of our favourite British mammals but it is declining in numbers and classified as an endangered species.


Threats to the Red Squirrel

Until the 1940s the red squirrel was quite widespread. It has now disappeared from large areas of Britain and its place has been taken by the grey squirrel. The larger grey squirrel was introduced to this country in the mid-19th century.  Research has shown that  grey squirrels put on a lot more body fat than red squirrels which gives them a better chance of surviving. The larger, more robust grey wins in the competition for food and space and it is now widespread in England and Wales. It is more adaptable than the red squirrel and lives happily in hedgerow trees, parks and gardens as well as large woods and forests.  Grey squirrels also carry the squirrelpox virus, to which they are immune, but which is deadly to red squirrels. As of August 2015 the IUCN has classified the red squirrel as least concern.

Read More: Protecting the Red Squirrel

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